August 11, 2015
The process towards honorary citizenship not easy – Eustace

“It’s not an easy process, and I am not underestimating it in any way.”

Having last week signed a declaration of intent with a visiting Garifuna delegation in regard to proposed honorary citizenship, the Leader of the Opposition is now focusing on how the Garinagu{{more}} within the diaspora will be identified.

Arnhim Eustace, who called into the ‘Hitz Talk’ panel discussion on Hitz FM radio station last Sunday, said that this is only but one of the factors that need to be resolved in order to push forward the overarching issue.

“Somebody made the point earlier today about the numbers that are involved and how are you going to prove that somebody is a Garifuna. These are considerations that are well-grounded; I believe… we have to find a mechanism to get the process started,” he asserted.

In response to an assertion by local historian and headmaster of the St Vincent Grammar School Curtis King that the Garinagu should be granted full citizenship, not just honorary, Eustace said that it would be “much more complicated” to do so.

He, however, emphasized that he is not ruling out the possibility of full citizenship being offered to the Garifuna people at some point in the future, but for now, he is exploring honorary citizenship and what it would entail.

“My concern is that we must do this without any particular set of anger and the nastiness that we sometimes do. Honorary citizenship is something we are trying to define in terms of content… that is something we are taking very seriously as we move forward in our discussions with the Garifuna.”

Eustace also explained that every aspect of this honorary citizenship issue will be compiled in a document and then put forward for “public scrutiny.”

“There are a lot of things we need to look at, and that’s why I don’t see it as a short-term process… it is a work in progress… I expect it to take some time.” (JSV)